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20 November 2005
Countryside near Stonehenge may become a wildlife haven

A large tract of countryside near Stonehenge (Wilthsire, England) will soon become a wildlife haven to help reverse the decline of England's chalk grassland, a conservation charity said today.
     About 80% of the country's wildlife-rich chalk grassland has disappeared but the purchase of the site in Wiltshire will help reverse that loss, according to the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB). Acquiring Manor Farm, a 731-acre site near the ancient stones, will narrow the gap between Salisbury Plain and Porton Down, helping to create the largest network of chalk grassland sites in north west Europe, the RSPB said.
     Dr Mark Avery, conservation director at the RSPB said: "This is the missing piece of the jigsaw for us and will be the RSPB's first major chalk grassland nature reserve. "We all marvel at Stonehenge but forget the wonderful countryside around it. If our appeal for cash is successful we will restore the area to its former glory and show other landowners its potential.
     The plan to buy Manor Farm is the subject of a new 2.3 million appeal by the RSPB, made possible by a 933,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. If successful it will become the organisation's second conservation demonstration site after Grange Farm in Cambridgeshire, a 450-acre working arable farm.

Source: Community Newswire (17 November 2005)

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